AUPHA grew out of the efforts of the W.K.Kellogg Foundation to professionalize the management of hospitals following World War II. As the war wound down, the Foundation identified the improvement of the hospitals of the United States and Canada as a priority for programming because the hospital sector had been neglected during the war years. The decision was influenced by the presence on the staff of Andrew Pattullo who had come to the Foundation from the University of Chicago program in Hospital Administration and by the fact that Mr. Kellogg had been the administrator of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, an Adventist institution headed by his brother.
The Foundation assembled an advisory committee which was their standard procedure. The committee advised that there be study of the need, which led to the appointment of the Joint Commission on Education for Hospital Administration, headed by Charles E. Prall, in 1945. The Commission presented its report in 1948, calling for the expansion of university graduate programs and providing detailed recommendations for content and organization of the programs. In the period 1934-1953, ten programs were opened. They included the program at the University of Chicago (the first continuing program) in 1934 and Northwestern University in 1943.
The Commission organized meetings of the faculties in 1947 and 1948. In 1948 there were discussions about forming an association, leading to the first formal meeting of AUPHA in May, 1949 under the chairmanship of Dr. Arthur C. Bachmeyer of Northwestern University. In addition to the participating programs, standing invitations to participate went to the ACHA, the AHA, and the Kellogg Foundation. The founding programs were the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Columbia University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Toronto, Washington University, and Yale University. In 1950 AUPHA became an Illinois not-for-profit organization.
The Kellogg Foundation was the moving force behind the development of the field from the Prall Commission through the founding of AUPHA. Andy Pattullo participated in all of the early developments, including funding most of the programs. Some small grants to the Association supported projects in the period 1949-1963.
AUPHA was first based at Northwestern University, but soon moved to the University of Chicago where the director of the program (also the director of the hospital) served as the executive director. For a short time in 1950, ACHE provided staff support. The University of Chicago provided staff support until 1965.
From the outset, AUPHA set standards for admission to the Association. The first set included the requirement that the program grant the Masters degree, require at least one academic year of courses (of which a third must be directly concerned with hospital administration) and a year of residency or equivalent experience, have two professionally qualified faculty members, and have a degree of autonomy in operations. These standards were modified many times over the years before the establishment of the quasi-independent Accrediting Commission on Graduate Education for Hospital Administration in 1966.
In 1963 the Foundation encouraged the leadership to develop a more formal approach to collaboration among the programs, faculty development, and student recruitment. A grant was awarded in 1964 to establish a full-time staff, and on July 1, 1965, the first employee, Gary Filerman, began the development of the present organization.
Over the years, healthcare administration education has changed and AUPHA has changed along with it. From an original membership of seven graduate programs in the US and Canada, it has grown to over 180 graduate and undergraduate programs in North America and hundreds of personal, corporate and affiliated program members all over the world. AUPHA is now an international consortium of graduate and undergraduate health administration programs and practitioners engaged in the development of health management education.
Yet many of the founding principles remain the same. The association continues to provide forums for discussion where leaders from the field can gather to share information on educational methods and research. The association continues to serve as an effective advocate for the health administration education community before various legislative and executive bodies. Most importantly, AUPHA continues to focus on providing its members with the tools, research, venues, support, and forums that enable each program, as well as healthcare administration education as a whole, to evolve and thrive in a constantly changing industry.